Sergo, Musina, Nürnberg and Tandberg all defended their titles in the 1939 European Boxing Championships

21 May 2020 News

The sixth edition of the European Boxing Championships was held in Dublin, Ireland in 1939 two years after the previous Milan competition. Four of the titleholders as the Italian duo Ulderico Sergo and Luigi Musina, furthermore Germany’s Herbert Nürnberg and Sweden’s Olle Tandberg defended their thrones in 1939.

The first competition day of the event was April 18 while the finals and most of the bronze medal matches were held on April 22 in 1939. The number of the boxers was less than in the previous 1937 Milan edition which held the record with 85 athletes until 1939. Altogether 71 boxers attended in the 1939 Dublin edition due to the difficult political situation in the continent and the longer travelling distances.

The following 12 nations attended in the sixth edition of the European Boxing Championships in Dublin: Belgium, England, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Poland, Scotland, and Sweden.

Belgium, Germany, and Poland attended with maximum number of eight boxers in the 1939 European Boxing Championships. Ireland competed with seven boxers in the event, the country attended almost all of the categories excluding the light heavyweight. Scotland was the lone nation which has done its debut in the European Boxing Championships in 1939.

Italy won the medal table with two gold, one silver and one bronze medals in 1939 ahead of the Irish team which earned also two titles on home soil. The best nation in 1937, Poland, Germany, Sweden and Estonia each won one gold in 1939 while Hungary and Belgium had medallists in Ireland’s capital city.

Four of the English boxers advanced to the semi-finals in Dublin but all lost their fights in the top four and also in their third place contests which meant Team England travelled back to home without any medals in 1939.

Ireland made its debut in the European Boxing Championships only in 1937 but the country claimed the first gold in 1939. Their Jimmy Ingle was able to beat Germany’s Nikolas Obermauer at the flyweight before his fellow Patrick Dowdall claimed the gold at the featherweight. Ireland’s second gold was a great surprise but Dowdall managed his success over one of the first Polish legends in our sport, Antoni Czortek.

Ulderico Sergo claimed the gold medals at the Berlin 1936 Olympic Games and at the Milan 1937 European Boxing Championships which made him one of the icons in that period. The 26-year-old experienced Italian defeated Hungary’s lone finalist Miksa Bondi in the final of the bantamweight. The Italian boxer lived later in the United States while his Hungarian opponent attended at the London 1948 Olympic Games after World War II.

Herbert Nürnberg won his first national title in 1937 and in that year he won also the European Boxing Championships in Milan. The 25-year-old German lightweight boxer returned to the continental event in 1939 and the Kiel-based boxer was able to defend his throne following his success over Estonia’s Harald Kanepi.

Poland’s Antoni Kolczynski was the best boxer at the Europe vs. United States boxing match in 1938 therefore he was the main favourite for the gold at the 1939 European Boxing Championships. The 22-year-old Polish boxer defeated Sweden’s Erik Agren in the final and continued his boxing career until 1952 winning 216 fights out of his total 238.

Estonia’s top boxer in the 1930’s was Nikolai Stepulov who claimed silver at the Berlin 1936 Olympic Games but their first ever European Champion was Anton Raadik in 1939. The Rampaging Estonian, which was his nickname, triumphed over Poland’s Jozef Pisarski in the final of the middleweight. Following his European success, he had 63 professional fights between 1940 and 1952 mostly in the United States.

Italy’s Luigi Musina defeated Poland’s Franciszek Szymura in the final of the Milan 1937 European Boxing Championships and both boxers advanced to the title bout of the light heavyweight in Dublin two years later. On their unique re-match Musina bowed out his Polish rival once again and became double champion.

Sweden’s Olle Tandberg was the youngest winner at the Milan 1937 European Boxing Championships which he won before his 19th birthday. The Swedish boxer defeated Germany’s top heavyweight Herbert Runge in the final in 1937 and he repeated that success in the semi-finals two years after their first fight. Tandberg advanced to the final in 1939 and continued his winning path against Italy’s Nemesio Lazzari defending his throne in the heaviest weight class.

List of the winners in the 1939 European Boxing Championships

  • Flyweight (50.8kg): Jimmy Ingle, Ireland
  • Bantamweight (53.5kg): Ulderico Sergo, Italy
  • Featherweight (57.2kg): Paddy Dowdall, Ireland
  • Lightweight (61.2kg): Herbert Nürnberg, Germany
  • Welterweight (66.7kg): Antoni Kolczynski, Poland
  • Middleweight (72.6kg): Anton Raadik, Estonia
  • Light heavyweight (79.4kg): Luigi Musina, Italy
  • Heavyweight (+79.4kg): Olle Tandberg, Sweden
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